When a business owner goes through a divorce, their personal and professional assets could be on the line. As your marriage comes to an end, you might wonder what will happen to the company you’ve built and how the divorce will impact your business. Even if you’ve managed to keep your work life separate from your home life, there could be a degree of overlap that’s cause for concern. As a business owner, the stakes are higher than ever and it’s critical to protect yourself.
As you work through the legal process of your divorce, you need to think about how these steps will affect your income, ownership, and other resources. Today, we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect as you move forward and how our attorneys help defend your rights at every turn.
Business Owner Divorce: The Basics
Divorce can be one of the most difficult journeys for anyone to walk through. It becomes even more complicated when one of the spouses also owns and operates their own business.
If you’re in this situation, it’s critical to tighten your sphere of control. This is especially the case if you and your ex-partner opted not to sign a prenuptial agreement or aren’t on amicable terms. Regardless of how involved your spouse might be in the day-to-day operations of your business, you don’t want to make any mistakes that could put your rights on the line.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to help the business owner’s divorce process go as smoothly as possible.
A Business Owner Should Separate Personal and Business Expenses
When your business is brand-new and you’re just getting it off the ground, it might seem easier to pay for some company expenses out of your own, personal account. However, most experts agree it’s best to keep these finances separate.
Doing so helps you maintain a clear, consistent picture of your company’s daily cash flow. It also allows you to look at its financial health independently from your personal assets, as well as your liabilities.
If you’re a married business owner, this also applies to your marital and non-marital assets. From this point onward, be sure to keep those records separate. This ensures there’s no confusion between your business budget and the one you keep at home, which makes it easier to divide assets up.
Consider a Postnuptial Agreement
It might be too late to opt in for a prenuptial agreement, but many couples don’t know that they can draft up a postnuptial agreement instead.
Put simply, this is a contract created by spouses after they marry. It outlines how shared financial assets will be split in the event of a divorce. Also known as a post-marital agreement, postnup, or ante-nuptial agreement, it can help alleviate many of the tensions surrounding monetary concerns in a marriage.
You can create this agreement even years after you marry. If possible, consider creating one before finalizing your divorce. Considering that your business is one of your greatest assets, it makes sense to protect it to the greatest degree possible. With a postnuptial agreement in place, you can split assets fairly and according to your wishes.
Business Owners Should Keep Meticulous Records
Any time you’re dealing with a legal process, it’s essential to keep very thorough records. This also applies if you’re going through a divorce with an LLC or corporation.
If you’re staking a claim on certain financial aspects of the business, organize and assemble all of the paperwork that relates to your claim. The court will want to review those records to make sure that the assets you’re claiming are rightfully yours.
Aim for Cordiality
It might seem impossible in the moment but try to be as cordial as you can with your spouse during this tense time. This will make it much easier for you to work together through this difficult stage. Otherwise, engaging in an ongoing back-and-forth spat could delay the divorce process and affect your assets as a business owner.
In addition, it also means spending more time, money, and stress on your case. That’s energy and earnings you could be pouring back into your company. Consider prioritizing teamwork, at least in the short term, so you can find success down the road.
If you’re finding this step particularly difficult, there are resources that can help. This article from the American Psychological Association (APA) discusses several strategies you can try to make your divorce as amicable as possible. One tip is to list all of the points you want to discuss with your ex-partner before meeting so you can focus on those key points without letting emotion take over.
Hire a Family Lawyer
Finally, one of the most important steps for a business owner to take is to hire a qualified, experienced family lawyer who can help you work through all of these steps. As you search for the best one in your local area, make sure that the legal team you hire distinctly specializes in family law.
Not all attorneys will offer this service, and it’s important to partner with one that does. For instance, a team that only focuses on car accident claims may not be as well-versed in the nuanced aspects of family law, including the terms and guidelines that apply to your state.
At Boyer Law Firm, P.L, we specialize in many different types of law, including family law. We know that these matters can be complex and overwhelming for couples and families to handle, and we’re here to protect your interests.
Protect Yourself and Your Business in a Divorce
If you and your spouse are considering divorce, our legal team is here to help. In addition to helping families handle common issues around child support, child custody, and domestic contracts, we’re also experienced in business law. We know how divorce can affect professional assets, and we want to help you protect yours.
These next steps can seem daunting, but you don’t have to take them alone. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the services we can provide.